Shifting Gears-From Survival Mode to Modi Trending

Shifting Gears-From Survival Mode to Modi Trending
Photo : Gary Griffith

Are there more to life in T&T? Here in T&T our leaders are obsessed about their safety and security, so much so that they have to remind the CoP that “we have always been great friends.” Are our leaders conscious of the fact that when they identify the newly appointed CoP as their friend that they are compromising the integrity of his office?

Insecurity and fear can have devastating effects on the integrity and character of an individual and people. Even the gods in the heavens become desperate when their survival is threatened. Enveloped in fear, they act in ways unbecoming of their elevated status, even forgetting their duties in the process. It is a pitiable state for a god, far less a man!

Photo : Fuad Khan

The story is told that when the demons invaded heaven, Indra, the King of Heaven, fled to save his life. Indra ran hither and thither with the demons in pursuit until he reached earth and took refuge inside a sow. Not too long after, Indra took birth as a piglet and grew up into a fine young boar, later fell in love, married, sired many children, and his children had children.

Meanwhile in the heavens, Vishnu intervened, defeated the demons and re-instated the gods in power but to the astonishment of all, there was no sight of their king. A few of the gods were deputed on a special mission to find Indra to bring him back to heaven. After searching all the heavenly regions the mission finally visited earth and recognised Indra in the form of a boar.

The gods were in shock. Indra had forgotten his identity.

“Oh King! How are you?” a god asked.

“What king?  Who are you?” the boar, confused, asked.

‘We are your subjects from heaven? You are our King.  The demons are defeated. We need you to rule.” pleaded the gods.

“Where am I to go? Can’t you see? I have a family-my wife, children, grand-children to care for. What heaven are you talking about?” the boar questioned.

 After pleading, Indra asked: “Do you have offal in your heaven?”

The gods assured him: “Yes! Yes! We have an abundance of the most delicious offal.”

The boar eyes opened widely. He was now eager to return to his heaven.

Our survival –filling our stomachs-has been our biggest challenge. This is what Gandhiji encountered, to his displeasure, when he returned to India after 20 years of struggle in South Africa. Indians, like seasoned slaves, have forgotten the taste of freedom and human dignity after 1,000 years of foreign rule. Dressed in their English suits, the leaders of the Indian National Congress were content to petition the Queen for petty concessions. They were never eager for an all-out expulsion of the British from India.

Photo : Mahatma Gandhi

When Gandhi came on the scene and declared that the British must leave, the leaders of the Indian National Congress were taken aback. The British retorted: “But you Indians cannot live without the British; there will be chaos and mayhem.”

Gandhi retorted: “That would be our problem to worry about, not yours.”

Are Indo-Trinidadians victims of this hunter-gatherer/ slash and burn culture?  Even our politicians whom we have elected to represent our interest are busy negotiating their survival. The recent support shown for the newly appointed Commissioner of Police is nothing more that survival (hunter-gatherer) culture at play. The necessity to uphold the sanctity of the constitution took flight and politics degenerated to the stomach, safety and security.

This attitude explains the current state of politics in the country. The latest revelation is Vassant Bharrat giving his blessings to the newly appointed Commissioner of Police. It is now left to invite the Gary Griffith to the mandir, garland him and perform his arti. Never mind the government destroyed the legal process in selecting a CoP, tarnishing the character and integrity of members of the Police Service Commission in the process and destroying all opportunities to develop a meritocracy.

In his struggle for the rights of Indian domiciled in South Africa, Gandhi always exercised a level of decency and decorum. When the British were engaged in the Boer War, Gandhi, a pacifist, pledged his allegiance to Britain because he was a British citizen. More so, Gandhi organised a 1,000 strong band of stretcher-bearers to rescue wounded soldiers from the battlefield and take them to safety, dress their wounds and nurse them back to health.

The common decency that Gandhi had inculcated in the minds of the nation continues to flourish. The sacrifice and integrity of Gandhi continues to be an inspiration to the Indian people. Had Gandhi practiced survival of the fittest –belly politics-there would have been no room for a Narendra Modi. India would have long been destroyed by the treacherous ambition and greed of Gabbar Singhs of Sholay fame.

India is a leader in the evolving field of social entrepreneurship. Howard B. Buffet and William B. Eimicke, authors of Social Value Investing: A Management Frame Work for Effective Partnership Today, pointed out that India had taken the lead in bringing social services to its 1.2 billion population. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has harnessed the country’s IT prowess to successfully develop a single identity card for all transactions.

Today’s craze in India has extended beyond Bollywood to include Sadhguru Jaggii Vassudev of the Isha Foundation, Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living, Baba Ramdev, Sri Satya Sai Baba, Chinmaya Mission, Vandana Shiva, to name a few. These individuals and organizations, inspired by the philosophy of service, are pioneers in social entrepreneurship, bringing peace and welfare to millions of India’s poor. Even the Bollywood stars have hitched their wagons to these organizations that are investing in a better life for all of humanity. And this drive to serve is in no small way influenced by the Father of the Indian Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi set the stage as an exemplar of good conduct and social services. Today Gandhi’s life shines as a beacon of hope to all of humanity reminding them of a life beyond survival and security, that life is much more that food, clothing, shelter and security.